Taking a page from generations past, our winery is located in the subterranean cellar below our home on the San Lorenzo vineyard that Peter's great grandfather began in 1896. Both our vineyard and the winery span dual appellations of the Russian River Valley and Alexander Valley. The short commute from our home (down the stairs) allows for careful execution and monitoring of each step in the winemaking process.
Each lot of fruit is hand harvested in the early morning hours and, then, sorted as it enters the winery. Gently pressing over a period of four hours, we yield less wine while avoiding bitterness from the skins. Once in barrel or concrete egg, native yeast begin fermentation. All lees remain in barrel throughout the aging process adding complexity and richness.
All grape lots are sorted as they enter the winery. Red wine lots are double sorted as they arrive into the winery then, once in tank, enjoy the benefit of an expansive 5 day cold soak. With 13-16 days on skins, we are able to coax the color and flavors attributed to our hard work in the vineyards.
Each vintage, 30 - 40% of our Chardonnay is fermented in Concrete Eggs. The egg, considered nature's perfect shape, produces a gentle vortex that suspends the natural solids in solution longer than in barrel. The result is enhanced creaminess over traditional barrel fermentation. The natural and semi-porous concrete surface allows the fullest expression of the vineyard and its fruit. Inside the egg's thick walls, an embedded temperature system allows for precise and gradual temperature control that proves healthier for the native yeast culture. Concrete fermentation is performed at 55 degrees and can take upwards of two months to complete. The wine, as in barrel, sits on the lees for upwards of one year for complexity and texture.
As any craftsman learns his skill, the perfect tools are important. Our label depicts two wine tools used by our grandfathers dating to the beginning of California’s wine industry in the 1800's.
Hammer – A cooper's tool used in the cellar to tighten the bands of barrels and tanks. Spike candleholder - A miner's candle spike was quickly adopted by winemakers for use in cleaning redwood tanks. The candle provided not only light, but an indication of a safe level of oxygen to enter the tank.
Also pictured are our grandfather's pruners, barrel etcher, and mallet with Pete Sr.'s Enology textbooks from UC Davis in the 1930's.